Phil Mickelson has 'gone dark' during break, says Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau says close friend Phil Mickelson has “gone dark” since deciding to take a break from golf after finding himself shrouded in controversy.

Three-time winner Mickelson is sitting out The Masters for the first time in 28 years after stepping away from the game following remarks about the PGA Tour and a Saudi-backed Super League being fronted by Greg Norman.

In his first press conference since August outside of the Ryder Cup, DeChambeau was asked if he’d been in touch with three-time Masters winner and current US PGA champion Mickelson.

“I've tried to reach out, but he's gone dark,” said the Californian. “There's no contact.”

Bryson DeChambeau with US vice-captain Phil Mickelson during last year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

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DeChambeau had been missing himself for nearly two months as he recovered from a fractured hamate bone in his left hand and a torn labrum in his left hip.

“I'm probably around 80 per cent right now,” he said in delivering a fitness update ahead of the season’s opening major, which starts on Thursday.

“I can't go all-out. I can't do any speed training sessions. I can't practice for excessive hours like I have to figure stuff out.”

Looking on the positive side, he added: “It's also allowed me to become a little smarter in how I practice.

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“Like I've got to be careful with things and really be efficient and limit the amount of golf balls I can hit.

“Today was the first time I can just go and hit golf balls for a long period of time and just get really comfortable and dialed in, so I feel pretty nice and comfortable going into this week so far.”

DeChambeau said heading into the 2020 event that he felt the par at Augusta National for him was 67 due to his length off the tee, yet he’s not managed to finish in the top 20 in his five appearances to date.

Assessing his chances of claiming a Green Jacket on this occasion, he said: “At 80 percent, I'm still around 190 ball speed. So, it's not bad from a speed perspective.

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“From a chipping and putting perspective, I'm getting really close to having my A Game there. Close to an A Game there.

“(Coach) Chris Como and I are working rigorously on it. We've been working hard for the past three weeks since I've come back.

“And it's been a bit of unravelling this knot that I've had in my game for the past four years. We're finally in a moving in a direction that I feel is positive for me being able to win again, hopefully, regularly like I did in 2018.

"I knew this was going to be a long process. But how am I going to win out here? It's going to be a lot of hitting fairways, hitting greens and rolling the putter really well. You have to roll it well and read greens well.

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“I think a few factors coming in, having a golf swing that's more repeatable with the speed and being able to read greens better, may allow me to have a chance to win.”

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